Dr Elsila said: “Because our tools today are more sensitive, we can analyse things that are present in tiny amounts.
“We also now can separate chemical compounds from a mixture, making it easier to identify them.”
NASA’s cutting edge instruments can examine samples of lunar soil – regolith – no bigger than a speck of dust.
The machines study the chemical composition of the regolith to reveal what the Moon is built of.
NASA’s researchers are, in particular, keen on uncovering the ancient chemistry of the early solar system.